Trump and Mnangagwa have a lot in common


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United States President Donald Trump and Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa may be worlds apart, even enemies on paper, but they have a lot in common.

Trump was considered a rank outsider who could not even win the nominations for Republican Party candidate. He won the nominations.

His critics, especially the mainline US media, said he would never be President. He won.

When he was sworn in, his critics said he would not last year. He is now more than half-way through his third year- 16 months away from completing his first term and, who knows, he might even win a second term.

Though considered the son of God for years, Mnangagwa lived so long in the shadow of former President Robert Mugabe that most people thought he would never make it to the top.

Some, even in his own party, began to believe that he was unelectable.

When he was fired from the government in November 2017, most believed that was the end of his political career. But he said he would be back in weeks. He was back in two weeks but this time as President of the country.

In the run-up to the 2018 elections, his main opponent, Nelson Chamisa, said if Mnangagwa won 5 percent of the vote, he would give him his 18-year-old sister for a wife.

Mnangagwa won 50 percent plus.

Chamisa was too embarrassed to accept that and continue to cry foul that he was cheated by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission though he failed to prove his case at the Constitutional Court.

Mnangagwa’s biggest coup on Chamisa was to allow the court case to be televised live for the nation to see the proceedings for itself.

Having been sworn in as President Mnangagwa did what most people thought he was incapable of doing. He removed most of the old guard from his cabinet and appointed younger politicians and technocrats.

It looked like he was on his was to achieving his goal of raising Zimbabwe to an upper middle income country by 2030, but trouble started.

The austerity measures his government introduced met stiff resistance from almost every quarter yet everyone had been complaining that the country was going down the drain under the previous administration.

The social media went into overdrive. Mnangagwa was supposedly at loggerheads with his Finance Minister, but Mthuli Ncube seemed to have a free rein. He introduced a 2 percent tax which met stiff resistance but is still in force today. He liberalised the exchange rate and brought back the Zimbabwe dollar.

Mnangagwa’s train continues to move on but so do stories that he will not last.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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